Some recent items on games, serious games, and conflict simulations that may be of interest to PAXsims readers:
The 2013 Canadian Disaster and Humanitarian Training Program will be held in Toronto on 8-19 May 2013. The course will make extensive use of simulation methods, notably in the simulation/field exercise component:
The Simulation Exercise part of the program is designed to simulate a complex humanitarian emergency that involves understanding cultural context, war, natural disaster and forced migration of the local population in addition to other challenges injected to add stress to the participants. Participants are in the simulation for 72 hours, working in multidisciplinary teams to perform a series of assessments on the fictional populations. Teams must find ways to solve dynamic and complicated problems including security incidents, disease outbreaks, child soldiers, environmental shocks, limited resources, supply issues and populations on the move. Participants apply their skills in all areas specific to humanitarian response including: health, water and sanitation, food, shelter and protection. They also use principles of triage and of humanitarian action, coordinate the emergency, run meetings, apply globally-recognized standards to meet shelter, water, sanitation and nutritional needs, enumerate populations and calculate important health indicators that translate into numbers needed to treat and the dollars needed to do so. They draw on knowledge in international humanitarian law, negotiation, population sampling, information management, and crisis mapping along with other technologies specifically used in humanitarian emergencies. Teams establish their own compound, eat military rations, draft situation reports and evacuation plans, respond to militia strikes and kidnapping, practice landmine safety and provide media interviews on camera. At the end of the simulation teams submit and present a final proposal for their intended project to assist the affected population to the UN and other donors. Individual performance is assessed using and CCHT-created competency-based evaluation tool.
The deadline for application is March 7.
The UN Staff College will offer a course on Advancing Training Skills and Simulations Development in Turin on 9-12 April 2013:
During this course, participants will be exposed to theoretical lessons, coaching sessions, demonstrations, group-work and presentation tasks enabling them to successfully design, develop and deliver effective security training programs. In order to allow participants to monitor the improvement of their training skills and capacities, their performances will be assessed during the course through pre-established criteria, which will contribute to the final evaluation of the competencies and abilities acquired during the course.
The United State Institute of Peace, as usual, offers a number of forthcoming courses on peacebuilding and conflict resolution that make use simulation methods.
For those putting together humanitarian and disaster relief simulations, there are a great many useful resources to be found at the website of the Emergency Capacity-Building (ECB) project. You’ll find an overview of their work on simulation-based training here, and links to various resource materials here.
ActionAid is looking for an international programme manager, to lead their “preparedness and emergency response work, managing a team for emergency response as and when necessary.” While primary emphasis is on applicants with extensive field and management experience in insecure environments, including emergencies and conflict situations, part of the job also involves ensuring that “simulation exercises take place with country programmes and ensure that country based preparedness plans are in place.” Applications close on March 11—details here.
There are also several United Nations positions currently advertised for which familiarity with simulation methods would be an asset. Search at UN Jobs for more details.
At Playing the World, Jon Peterson discusses how gaming got its (polyhedral) dice.
Allan B. Calhamer, the postal worker who invented the influential boardgame Diplomacy, died on February 25 at age 81
At Slate, Farhad Manjoo reviews the new edition of SimCity, and likes what he finds—especially the shift in the game engine from macro-modellling to agent-based modelling of urban processes.
h/t last two items, Jacob Levy